The Torkelsons/Almost Home
Revision date: April 15, 1995
and John Carr
The show was a comedy about a sensitive 14-year-old girl who's mortified by her crazy-quilt unorthodox family. Dorothy Jane just wanted to be thought of as normal, like any teenager, but had a hard time doing so. Her father had walked out on the family and they were always short on money. Her perky, optimistic mom, Millicent, saw sunshine everywhere. The rest of the family consisted of brothers - athletic Steven Floyd and studious Chuckie Lee, and sisters - spunky Ruth Ann and cute Mary Sue. They lived in a big rambling house in Pyramid Corners, Oklahoma. The name for the show came from a real Steven Floyd Torkelson who shared his bug collection and a first kiss with a little girl named Lynn Montgomery. She grew up to create the show some 30 years later.
The Torkelsons apparently turned out to be too down home for most people as it never found much of an audience in its original Saturday night timeslot and even less of one when it was moved to Sundays. After a second hiatus the series was revamped to return in February 1993 as Almost Home. For the new series the family moved to Seattle, where Millicent took a job as a nanny for the two spoiled teenage children of a widower. Two of the Torkelson kids were lost in the move as they never appeared in Seattle and the show pretended they never existed. The new series, which mostly pitted conservative family values against liberal family values, did not do any better in the ratings and disappeared after 13 episodes.
The NBC air dates come from back issues of TV Guide so might not account for schedule changes. The synopses were adapted from TV Guide listings.
Starring: Connie Ray Millicent Olivia Burnette Dorothy Jane Benj Thall Steven Floyd [pilot] Aaron Michael Metchik Steven Floyd [series] Lee Norris Chuckie Lee Rachel Duncan Mary Sue Elizabeth Poyer Ruth Ann [pilot] Anna Slotky Ruth Ann [series] William Schallert Wesley Hodges
1. Fence Neighbors 9/21/91 production #T-401 Debut: A homespun family led by a single mom tries to get by, but teenage daughter Dorothy Jane isn't thrilled when her mom's forced to take in a border to make ends meet. Written by Lynn Montgomery Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Ernie Lively J.W. Guest Starring: Michael Landes Riley Roberts Richard McGonagle Howard Roberts Lynn Milgrim Lillian Roberts Featuring: Jeanine Jackson Appliance Saleslady Gil Roscoe Tall Man Skip O'Brien Barly Guy 2. The Cotillion 9/28/91 production #T-403 Dorothy Jane hopes for a fairy-tale resolution to a school-dance dilemma: she has no dress, no date, and Riley, her Prince Charming next door, seems oblivious. Written by Lynn Montgomery Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Ronnie Claire Edwards Bootsie Michael Landes Riley Paige Gosney Kirby Scroggins Tanya Fenmore Laine Co-starring: Alyson Kiperman Dreama Nicki Vannice Shawna 3. A Kiss is Still a Kiss 10/05/91 production #T-404 Dorothy Jane would like a romance between Millicent and the new pastor but when he comes calling, its only to report that Steven Floyd nearly turned a hayride into a roll in the hay. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Ronnie Claire Edwards Bootsie Jeff McCracken Reverend Langley-Wilson Featuring: Katie Jane Johnston Debra Jo 4. For Love or Money 10/12/91 production #T-402 Millicent deems it necessary to be regularly employed, giving Dorothy Jane the job of looking after the other kids. Written by Norma Safford Vela Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Ronnie Claire Edwards Bootsie Michael Landes Riley 5. Poetry in Motion 10/19/91 production #T-406 A blackmailing Ruth Ann reveals Dorothy Jane's private poems of passion to the world, but the unveiling ends up emboldening lovelorn Dorothy Jane. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Michael Landes Riley Doren Fein Nancy Suzie Plakson Verna 6. An American Almost in Paris 10/26/91 production #T-408 Dorothy Jane wants desperately to bid adieu to Oklahoma and say bonjour to Paris, and she might, if she's selected the winner in a student-exchange competition. Teleplay by Lynn Montgomery Story by Lynn Montgomery, Diana "Jennie" Ayers & Susan Sebastian Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Alyson Kiperman Dreama Lenny Wolpe Mr. Wheeler 7. Men Don't Leave 11/02/91 production #T-405 Daddy's home: Randall Torkelson blows in from Texas after more than a year away, but his arrival is an ill wind to Dorothy Jane, and she may be the last gasp of his marriage to Millicent. Written by Diana "Jennie" Ayers & Susan Sebastian Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Ronnie Claire Edwards Bootsie Gregg Henry Randall Torkelson 8. Thanksgivingsomething 11/24/91 production #T-407 Pastor Langley and his assistant will be guests for Thanksgiving, prompting Dorothy Jane to push Millicent to play up her femininity. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Jeff McCracken Reverend Langley-Wilson Michael Horse David Blackwing Remy Ryan Jenny Blackwing 9. Return To Sender 11/24/91 production #T-409 Wesley's estranged former daughter-in-law who, along with his granddaughter, is reunited with Wesley thanks to some good-hearted butting in by Millicent. Written by Michael Jacobs & Norma Safford Vela Directed by Arlene Sanford Special Guest Star: Patty Duke Catharine Jeffers Guest Starring: Ashley Peldon Molly Jeffers Dave Florek Mr. Katsotis Notes: Schallert played Patty's father on the 1960's *The Patty Duke Show*. 10. I Fought the Law 12/01/91 production #T-410 Millicent stands up for the American way, and the right to sell homemade pickled goods, by insisting on operating her annual roadside stand without a license. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Stephen Root Sheriff Bobby Clinton Ken Thorley Burke Miller Molly McClure Gertrude Perkins Lou Hancock Elvira Grandy 11. A Sigh Is Just a Sigh 12/08/91 production #T-411 Steven Floyd goes to bat for Millicent by beating up a school big mouth - but she doesn't know that until after she's chewed him out and he's run away. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby 12. Educating Millicent 12/22/91 production #T-412 Millicent had her reasons for not finishing high school, but there's no good reason why she couldn't take an equivalency exam now. Teleplay by Lynn Montgomery Story by Connie Ray & Lynn Montgomery Directed by Arlene Sanford Special Guest Appearance by: Kevin Clash Elmo Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby 13. Double Date 1/09/92 production #T-414 Radio "Love Professor" Kitty Drysdale wires into the affairs of Dorothy Jane and Millicent's hearts and jump-starts their dating lives. Written by Thomas Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest Starring: John Calvin Michael Omri Katz Jason Mother Love Kitty Notes: Kitty was played by radio personality Mother Love. 14. The Ice Princess 1/12/92 production #T-413 Dorothy Jane resolves to become the kind of girl who makes guys melt, and she looks to the school's resident ice princess for guidance. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest Starring: Michael Landes Riley Amy Hathaway Callie Featuring: Scott Campbell big jock Rachel O'Neill Daisy 15. Swear Not By the Moon 1/19/92 production #T-415 Never was there a story of more woe (except maybe one) than of Dorothy Jane's trial playing Juliet in the school play opposite her Romeo, Riley Roberts. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest Starring: Michael Landes Riley Rick Lieberman Mr. Whitman Vinessa Shaw Meredith Reed Shawn Phelan Mercurio Alyson Kiperman Dreama Danuel Pipoly Benvolio Ian Bohen Capulet 16. Say Uncle 2/16/92 production #T-418 Dorothy Jane and Millicent get a double dose of relentless wooing by two Scroggins men: Kirby and his big-talkin' uncle, who takes a liking to Millicent. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest Starring: Drew Carey Herby Scroggins Featuring: Sara Rose Johnson young Dorothy Jane Adam Wylie young Kirby 17. The Long Goodbye 5/02/92 production #T-420 Randall Torkelson returns with a big hello for Millicent and the kids, but Dorothy Jane is fretting over college-bound Riley, who didn't say goodbye. Written by Philip LaZebnik, Wayne Lemon, Richard Christian Matheson, Lynn Montgomery & Thomas Szollosi Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest starring: Gregg Henry Randall Torkelson Mother Love Kitty Drysdale Notes: This appears to have been intended to be the final episode although NBC did not air it that way. 18. The Egg and I 5/23/92 production #T-417 Dorothy Jane and Kirby learn parenthood isn't all it's cracked up to be when a school assignment requires them to care for an egg. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Arlene Sanford Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest starring: Mother Love Kitty Drysdale Featuring: Noah Cristopher Greg Kelsea & Kassandra Gibbs Jennie 19. Its My Party 5/30/92 production #T-419 Dorothy Jane is exposed to the perils of popularity when she throws a party to increase her social standing, but leaves a new friend standing out in the cold. Written by Christopher Vane & Virginia K. Hegge Directed by Robert Berlinger Also Starring: Paige Gosney Kirby Guest Starring: Amy Hathaway Callie Kimbro Alanna Ubach Willie Featuring: Nick Ayers Bobby Jo 20. Aunt Poison 6/13/92 production #T-416 Among the things that Millicent's eccentric aunt willed her are a sick dog, a valuable ring, an annoying riddle, an ugly painting ... and a lot of unanswered questions. Written by Thomas Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Steven Gilborn Dr. Euless Wayne Tippit Strickland Featuring: Patrick Reilly delivery boy
Starring: Connie Ray Millicent Torkelson Olivia Burnette Dorothy Jane Torkelson Lee Norris Chuckie Lee Torkelson Rachel Duncan Mary Sue Torkelson Brittany Murphy Molly Morgan Jason Marsden Gregory Morgan Perry King Brian Morgan The production number is the order the episodes are re-run on the Disney channel as they have shown other sitcoms in the production order.
1. New Moon 2/6/93 production 1 Debut: "The Torkelsons" get a new start, as Millicent and her kids move to Seattle, where she takes a job as a nanny for the two spoiled children of widower Brian Morgan. In the opener, Brian's daughter Molly plots to create dissension between Dorothy Jane and Millicent. Written by Michael Jacobs Directed by Arlene Sanford 2. Girls and Boy 2/13/93 production 5 Dorothy Jane enjoys her new job at a fast-food chicken joint, mainly because of her handsome supervisor, but Molly also wants a piece of this action. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Linda Day Special Guest Star: Joey Lawrence Jeff Thornton Guest Starring: Peter Van Norden Mel James Gleason Male Customer Shirley Prestia Female Customer Kimberlee Corney Megan 3. Sleeping With the Enemy 2/20/93 production 3 It's far from a perfect match when Dorothy Jane and Molly must share a bedroom, but the possibility of Brian's match with an attractive woman is what really bothers Molly. Written by Lisa A. Bannick Directed by Arlene Sanford Special Guest Appearance by: Erin Gray Jennifer 4. Is That All There Is? 2/27/93 production 13 The top jock in school asks out plain old Dorothy Jane, who sports newfound popularity in exchange for a rather bland relationship. Written by Patricia Nardo Directed by Bruce Bilson Guest Starring: Ben Affleck Kevin Johnson 5. The Fox and the Hound 3/06/93 production 8 When Brian's dinner date cancels at the last minute, he asks Millicent to fill in since the client he is meeting feels the man is only as good as the woman in his life. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by David Trainer Guest Starring: Paxton Whitehead Sir Reginald Harrington Sarah Douglas Lady Harrington Jared Leto Rick Aiken Frank Birney Captain 6. Winner Take Millicent 3/20/93 production 10 Brian's hotshot brother Jim asks out Millicent, and when things heat up between the two, Brian is left cold. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Patrick Maloney Guest Starring: Christopher Rich Jim Morgan 7. To Jane Eyre Is Human 3/27/93 production 12 Molly plagiarizes Dorothy Jane's book report in order to please Brian, who's not pleased at all with Molly's recent report card. Written by Mark Lisson Directed by Patrick Maloney 8. Duelling Birthdays 4/03/93 production 4 Dorothy Jane and Molly's sweet-16 birthday parties coincide: Molly's is a back-yard extravaganza, while Dorothy Jane's is a plain affair with just the family. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Arlene Sanford Guest Starring: Marguerite Moreau Kimberly Stephanie Brown Chandice Trish Ramish Linda Devon Gummersall Party Boy 9. To Date or Not To Date? 4/10/93 production 2 Millicent's decree that Molly can't date a college-age guy creates solidarity between Molly and Dorothy Jane, who sneak out of the house together. Written by Wayne Lemon Directed by Arlene Sanford Featuring: James Calvert Patrick Curnal Aulisio Bill Vincent Ventresca Dave 10. The Dance 4/17/93 production 6 Gregory's in trouble when friend Sam transforms herself into a pretty young lady and asks him to the Girls' Choice Dance. Written by Mark Lisson Directed by Linda Day Guest Starring: Alyson Hannigan Samantha Richard Panebianco Craig Keets James Gleason Mr. Hacker Jay Lambert Tom 11. You Ought To Be In Pictures 4/24/93 production 7 The camera loves Chuckie Lee, who loves the attention he gets posing in Brian's clothing catalogue. And when he gets a chance at a commercial, a reluctant Millicent acquiesces. Written by Lisa A. Bannick Directed by Dennis Erdman Guest Starring: Christine Rose The Director Mark Shera Paul Linda Larkin Kim Wayne Federman Assistant 12. Hot Ticket 6/05/93 production 11 Gregory gets it but good when he uses Brian's credit card in a desperate effort to land hard-to-get tickets to a big rock concert. Written by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Patrick Maloney Guest Starring: Alyson Hannigan Samantha Donal Logue Tommy Tom Peter Van Norden Mel 13. Bowling For Daddies 6/12/93 production 9 Millicent and Chuckie Lee enter themselves in Chuckie Lee's Wilderness Troop's father-son bowling tournament. Written by Lisa A. Bannick Directed by David Trainer Guest Starring: Robert Costanzo Big Bob Petrelli Jacob Kenner Bobby Petrelli